European Commission statement on joint acquisition of Novell’s patents by Microsoft, Apple, Oracle and EMC

On 17 January 2011, European Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia addressed the concerns expressed on 20 December 2010 by Mrs. Emma McClarkin, a Member of the European Parliament, as regards possible competition issues arising from the joint acquisition of a portfolio of 882 patents (concerning the open-source software space) from Novell by CPTN Holdings, a consortium of technology companies led by Microsoft that also includes Apple, Oracle, and EMC.  The question submitted to Mr. Almunia indicated Microsoft as the source of concerns about possible infringement of EU competition law.

Commissioner Almunia stated that, on the basis of the information available, the proposed transaction appears to fall outside the jurisdiction of the European Commission under the Merger Regulation, whereas the Commission has no indication that the mere acquisition of the patents in question by CPTN Holdings may lead to an infringement of EU competition rules. [Gabriele Accardo]